Cory Briggs, one of the attorneys who's demanding that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner step down amid allegations of sexual harassment, today sent Filner a letter saying he's received "numerous" press inquires "seeking to 'confirm that Mayor Filner has filed a defamation suit'" against Briggs. The court website shows no such filings, but it can take up to two days for a new case to appear, Briggs says.
Briggs, along with attorney Marco Gonzalez and former City Councilmember Donna Frye, asked Filner to resign after hearing stories from women—city employees, mayoral campaign volunteers and constituents—who say the mayor groped them, attempted to kiss them and made inappropriate sexual comments. In a tweet earlier this week, Briggs called the mayor a "predator."
Briggs' letter says that while he doesn't welcome a lawsuit, he's "[willing] to do everything reasonably necessary" to expedite it.
If Filner were to pursue such a case, the burden of proof would be on him. He'd need to prove: that Briggs made a statement of fact, not opinion; that the statement is false; and that Briggs said it knowing it was false.
But, given that none of the women have been willing to come forward publicly, and investigations by the city's personnel department and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—which has jurisdiction over claims involving city employees—could take months, there's a benefit to an expedited trial, Briggs says: "The essential question is whether the allegations we've made are true or false."
The mayor's spokesperson didn't respond to an email from CityBeat.